Environmental safeguard policies enacted by EPA, state and federal governments for effective management of onshore, offshore, coastal and other areas dictate the identification of environment friendly muds and mud additives. The increasing concerns of world communities to protect the global environment from the detrimental effect of oil-based muds dictate the use of environment friendly water-based muds. However, water-based muds with excellent environmental characteristics often become obsolete due to poor technical performance and low thermal stability. This paper describes the results of three novel mud additives to control the viscous, fluid loss and thermal stability of water-based muds.

A comparative study of the viscosity generating characteristics of a newly identified viscosifier indicates better performance at the same concentration with respect to a widely used viscosifier. Several fluid loss additives, developed using an environment friendly technique, show better performance than a widely used fluid loss additive. A newly identified thermal degradation inhibitor improved the thermal stability of a bentonite mud up to 150 °C.

Experimental data indicate more than 100% increase in PV, 400% increase in YP and 200% increase in 10 seconds gel strength for the base bentonite mud after hot rolling at 150 °C for 16 hours. However, this mud showed about 40% increase in PV and virtually no change in the YP and thixotropic property after hot rolling at 150 °C for 16 hours in the presence of the newly identified thermal degradation inhibitor.

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